Concourse: 12/12/17


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Ray Browne Conference on Cultural and Critical Studies April 6-8, 2018 Green State University Bowling , Ohio

Concept Note:

Borders are meant to separate. They delineate one from another. Issues of power arise when that delineation creates or exploits a marginalized “other.” Recent debates across the US and the world illustrate the importance of borders to establish and protect concepts of nationalism and safety; the plan for a “transparent” wall on the southern border of the United States, the refugee crisis which led to the limit of free movement in Europe, and the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar are all examples of the rise of xenophobia and global humanitarian crises. 

These debates have shed light on the porous nature of geographical borders, forcing citizens to decide who gets to come in and who gets forced out. Because the world is full of such borders, it is also full of borderlands, geographical and cultural areas occupying multiple physical spaces at once. Gloria Anzaldúa uses the term borderlands to refer to the geographical area that is most susceptible to “la mezcla” [hybridity], neither fully of Mexico nor fully of the United States. Those who occupy borderlands frequently occupy multiple geographical and cultural spaces. 

Anzaldúa also expands the concept of border, defining it as, “a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland can be a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants.”1 In this sense, “border” and “borderland” accommodate people who do not identify with and within established borders, who instead occupy both worlds simultaneously and are expected to abide by compound cultural expectations. Many people occupy multiple cultural landscapes, identifying with all and none. This liminality between nation, bodies, flesh and machine, living and dead, and the fluid spectrum stretching between binaries can be political, geographic, imposed, claimed, and used for pride or marginalization (or both). These liminalities are sites of critical exploration that illuminate what it means to occupy cultural, personal, and spiritual borderlands. There are countless voices that do not bear one identity, but multiple, and those identities are often shifting from moment to moment. Bringing these voices and stories forward is crucial to understanding the relationship between borders and borderlands.

Through examination of cultural representations, treatments, and uses of borders in the arts and social justice movements, we can understand ourselves, our futures, and our relation to one another and to ourselves. The tasks of defining and dismantling concepts of borders have never been more important. Through multiple theoretical lenses and the exploration of popular culture, we can take a critical look at how and why borders, borderlands, and their usefulness as a means of engaging with intersectional identities are emerging as vital areas of study.

 We welcome papers, panels, art presentations/installations, and other creative work, including but not limited to the following subject areas: 
  • Global Borderlands
  • Cross-Disciplinary Discourses 
  • Liminal Identities
  • Refugee Crises
  • Media (film, television, video games, music and music videos, news, comic books, literature, social media, fan fiction, humor) 
  • Imagination and Representation
  • Alternative Time (dystopian futures, alternative presents, apocalypse narratives, time travel narratives)
  • Science Fiction (technology, humanity, the Uncanny Valley, cyborg liminality, artificial intelligence) 
  • Material and Visual Culture; and Fashion (trends, vintage, historical styles)
  • Politics (rhetoric, ideology, policy) 
  • Popular Culture (representations of borderlands in film, television, and popular fiction)
  • Gender and Sexual Identity (binary and non-binary conceptions of gender and sexuality) 
  • Race and Ethnicity (multi-ethnic identities, immigration) 
  • Disability Studies (neurological spectrums and other binary and non-binary borders)
  • Digital Humanities 
  • Spirituality and Religious Studies 

Abstracts should be up to 250 words and should be submitted no later than December 22, 2017. Questions may be directed to 

To submit your abstract, use the BGSU ScholarWorks page for this event at the link below.

Dr. Susana Peña, Director
School of Cultural and Critical Studies
228 Shatzel Hall
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 4340


Research Travel Grants 2018-19: -Rubenstein Library, Duke University

Call For Applications:

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is now accepting applications for our 2018-2019 research travel grants:

The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture, the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, the History of Medicine Collections, and the Human Rights Archive will each award up to $1,500 per recipient to fund travel and other expenses related to visiting the Rubenstein Library. The Rubenstein also offers the Eleanore and Harold Jantz Fellowship, a $1,500 award for researchers whose work would benefit from use of the Jantz Collections. Please review the guidelines for each Center regarding which collections and what topics are eligible.

Anyone who wishes to use materials from the designated collections for historical research is eligible to apply, regardless of academic status. Writers, creative and performing artists, film makers and journalists are welcome to apply for the research travel grants. Research Travel Grants support projects that present creative approaches, including historical research and documentation projects resulting in dissertations, publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products and artistic works. All applicants must reside beyond a 100-mile radius of Durham, N.C., and may not currently be a student or employee of Duke University.

Grant money may be used for: transportation expenses (including air, train or bus ticket charges; car rental; mileage using a personal vehicle; parking fees); accommodations; and meals. Expenses will be reimbursed once the grant recipient has completed his or her research visit(s) and has submitted original receipts.

The deadline for application is January 31, 2018 by 5:00 PM EST. Recipients will be announced in March 2018. Grants must be used between April 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Contact Info:

Kelly Wooten
Research Services and Collection Development Librarian
Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Duke University, Durham, NC